The center’s punishment for disobedience can be crushing. What usually happens as a result is that an inordinate amount of talent, energy and time is spent on figuring out the best ways to elbow one’s way to the core of the mainstream. Then, once there, one has to behave in a way that will never jeopardize one’s position. Since most do what they can to keep their place within the status quo, far-reaching innovation is usually discouraged, and conformism rules…. “Creativity,” then, often boils down to recipes for the reproduction of the same with a minimum of variations; only a select few would risk their position by engaging in something too bold. Yet if this conformity remains unchallenged over time, a general sense of atrophy threatens to set in. That’s when the center, as a matter of life and death, needs significant challenges from the outside.
“Change Comes From the Margins” in The New York Times (June 30, 2015)